At the end of October, the Amalfi Coast and Capo di Sorrento, in western Italy, experienced something of a heatwave. Blue skies and fresh autumnal warmth provided a welcome break from the dreariness of the transition into Winter back home in the UK.Situated on a working Olive and Citrus farm, the Relais Regina Giovanna is an amazing place to stay – beautiful scenery, great food and incredible service. Highly recommended!
Born and bred in Sorrento, Antonino [below] had the daily pleasure of driving us into town in an old Fiat Pulmino van [above] – an experience in itself, as the traffic in and around the central piazza was terrifying!
The unseasonal weather front was preceded by a couple of days of strong winds and heavy sea swells, something that I hadn’t expected in this part of the Mediterranean. Mount Vesuvius looms ominously in the background, and is the dominant geographical feature in the area,
Another bonus of staying at the Relais was that it gave access to the ancient ruins of the Villa Di Pollio Felice – the once Summer residence of a wealthy Roman Nobleman. Unfortunately, to get to the Villa, you had to negotiate an extremely sketchy ‘boardwalk’ (I use the term loosely). Presumably, in the Winter months they remove the actual boards, so only the bare bones were left! In places, the drop was around 20ft, straight onto the rocks and breaking waves.
The villa must have been enormous, and the ruins that remain are fully accessible, without restriction of any kind. The local graffiti artists make full use of the rendered surfaces, adding an interesting juxtaposition of ancient and modern.
Next to the Villa is the stunning Bagni della Regina Giovanna, or ‘Queen Joans Bath’ [above & below]. Essentially, this a natural swimming hole fed by the sea through an archway, and was used by the Romans, as it is today by swimmers seeking something different.Both the Villa and the pool are well worth visiting, and the views of Mount Vesuvius across the Bay Of Naples are spectacular.
Stay tuned for my next blog featuring Sorrento, Positano and the Isle Of Capri…